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Documents the evolving portrait of dinosaurs over nearly 200 years by the greatest paleoartists (those who specialize in extinct animal restoration).

As a nature lover, when I want a great picture of a wild animal (whales, big cats, elephants, etc.) my first choice is usually a photograph. I rather have the real thing than someone's interpretation, naturally. But when I want a picture of a prehistoric animal, I can only have a painting, drawing or sculpture. I have to rely on the interpretations of various talented minds and hands who can take the remains of the subject, assemble them and add muscle and flesh. This aspect alone makes paleoart one of the purest form of the arts. It's almost part forensics, scientific knowledge and part imagination.

'Paleoart' was an informal term coined by artist Mark Hallett a century and a half after the first extinct animals were described. One might think a definition of paleoart could be cave paintings in Lascaux. In the case of mammoths and other extinct animals Man did coexist with, they could possibly qualify as the first forms of paleoart. But paleoart is art based on scientific data. Neither cave paintings or any of so-called "artifacts" "discovered" showing dinosaurs and Indians lived alongside of each other are real paleoart, even though these artifacts were 20th century forgeries reflecting the changing views of dinosaurs. They cannot be verified because their owners/creators will be outed by real archaeologists.

Mythological beasts of Greek and Roman legend along with dragons of oriental and occidental folklore may have been man's misinterpreted fossil discoveries before the advent of modern science. An extinct dwarf elephant skull probably inspired the Greek Cyclopes, and Asians imagined protoceratopsid remains as griffins, and so on.

From the very first scientific descriptions of prehistoric reptiles in the 1830s to the first descriptions of the most famous dinosaurs in the 1890s. From the Dinosaur Renaissance of the 1970s-80s, and its post-Jurassic Park pop culture resurgence in the 1990s. From the 2000s Chinese fossil rush confirming feathered dinosaurs as ancestral relatives to present day birds to now, the start of a new decade that we all hope is even more exciting.

The intention of the site was to chronologically roll call the top published paleoartists of all time. The artists are compiled usually by order of appearance in the decade. Honorable Mentions are those who contributed in a minor but noticeable way either by showing promise or promoting the paleoart niche in mainstream projects. Some names are just plain responsible for inspiring future artists and researchers, i.e. Hollywood special effects artists and studios.

Who pioneered and who set the standard, and likewise who merely imitated and just came along for the ride. During the next decade who will be the movers and shakers?

 

 

Stick around and find out.

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